Uni, Conferences, and a Pageant - Welcome Back to the Blog
Life feels like it’s been going at a million miles per hour lately. While I ended 2020 feeling uninspired and a bit down, especially given the current circumstances around the global pandemic, 2021 has brought new experiences into my life that I’m very grateful for.
I’m excited to announce that I am officially returning to the blog, although I am not alone this time! I have brought on a wonderful intern, Sulakna, who has just completed her first year of civil engineering at the University of Edinburgh. I was very impressed at her taking the initiative to reach out to me after attending the Edinburgh Women in Space Conference, and this internship was born out of that conversation! You’ll be hearing from her every few weeks, where she will be bringing you some fascinating posts around different areas of science and engineering. You can check out her bio on the "About" section of my website!
Before launching into more updates, I wanted to wish everyone (a belated) Happy International Women in Engineering Day, which was yesterday. This is a very important day to me, as a woman in engineering, as it brings together some of the most inspirational women together, increasing awareness of women in engineering, accomplishments, as well as struggles. It also holds a special place in my heart because this was the day when I decided to be brave and become more vocal online about the things that mattered to me, which is something that used to scare me a bit when I was younger. For everyone reading, you have a very special bonus article coming soon, as I have interviewed my friend Shireen, who is currently pursuing an aerospace engineering master’s at the Georgia Institute of Technology, so keep an eye out for that tomorrow.
In terms of the future of this blog, I wanted to give it a bit more of a focus, rather than having it hop around disjointed topics. Therefore, you will mainly be seeing articles centred around my own experiences, as well as some commentary about space. Of course, you’ll also have Sulakna’s science articles pop up every few weeks.
Before winding down this post, I wanted to give a short recap about where I have been the past few months. I’m not going to lie, it’s been hectic. Of course, with me being me, I took on way too much and ended up getting a bit burnt out, but at the present moment, it has sort of all worked out for me.
January and February were characterised by university, of which I threw myself into my work and pushed myself for my last semester of my undergraduate degree. As well, I was busily preparing for the Edinburgh Women in Space Conference.
By March, Edinburgh Women in Space prep was fully underway! On top of that, I received quite a bit of encouragement to apply for the UKSEDS Executive committee, which culminated in me running for an At-Large position, which I was voted in for. This led to me moving away from the Careers team and transitioning to the Outreach team, which we are really kickstarting now, as there have been some big changes happening in the team.
The conference ended up being amazing and everything I could have ever dreamed of. 50 fantastic speakers joined hundreds of participants from around the world in a unique event for women in space. Although technological issues arose throughout the 3 days, the team handled everything with confidence and grace. More about the conference later!
April signified the start of my acting course at the Vancouver Film School, my first real experience of professional acting. Unfortunately, it was all online, but the fact that I was able to spend several hours each week immersing myself in a completely new world was very refreshing for me, and I was able to learn a lot over those seven weeks. It also helped take my brain away from revision and my final project.
I’m not going to lie, May was an absolute slog for me. I had a really strange time of it all, but managed to write my exam, finish my final year project, and also performed a final monologue for my acting course! It was hectic and crazy, and I was excited but also quite burned out throughout the month. The end of the month mainly consisted of me trying to unwind after an intense previous few months, (try to) figure out what I wanted to do after graduation, as well as sending in applications to some space companies. I also squeezed in my first dose of the Covid vaccine, and had my wisdom teeth removed, which was not nearly as traumatic as I had feared it would be. No, seriously, I have been terrified of the procedure since I was 8 years old when a character on a TV show explained the process and it ended up not being bad at all.
I honestly don’t know how it is still June, because June, by far, has been one of the craziest months of my life. I received some interview invitations at the beginning of the month and went in not really expecting that. I ended up speaking to some really awesome people and had to wait to hear the outcome. During that time, I also decided to obtain my boating license, because I had wanted to for quite a while but had never quite found the right time to do so. I was also sick of being so sedentary for months, so started running again, and found myself testing out some new gyms. I even received an email from Miss World Canada announcing that the time to apply for the 2021 pageant was coming to a close, so after a chat with my mum, and without really expecting to do much over summer, I applied. After an application and interview, I was in!
Just after securing my place at the pageant, I also received word that I was successful in an interview for an exciting role as a Marketing and Partnerships intern at Space Forge! It’s a start up out of Wales where the team is creating a satellite that will manufacture new materials in space. I had a great time in the interview and loved the projects that they said I would be involved in, as well as the company culture. That’s how I ended up preparing for a pageant in a week and a bit, as well as coordinating my travel back to the UK to start my internship. I’ll speak more about the pageant in a later post, but wow, was it an incredible experience, which seriously surpassed my expectations.
So that brings us to the moment I'm writing this. I’m currently sat on a plane heading to Paris, from which I will fly on to Amsterdam, and then finally Glasgow, before hopping on a bus to Edinburgh to quarantine in my flat for 10 days. Although I am sad to be leaving behind the sun, my family, friends of new and old, as well as my precious little puppy on the beautiful west coast of Canada, I am looking forward to getting back to the UK, seeing my friends again after nearly a year and a half, starting my internship, and also working on extra projects. Because what would my life be without taking on extra projects?